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EV Deliveries from BYD, Li Auto (LI), Nio (NIO), Xpeng (XPEV); Disney's (DIS) Steamboat Willie Goes Public

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After a strong finish to 2023, U.S. equities markets were slowish to start in 2024. The first trading day of the new year will include the crowning of a new leader in sales of all-electric vehicles. Plus, a film icon loses copyright protection.

EV makers report deliveries

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Chinese EV makers BYD Co. Ltd. (BYDDF), Nio Inc. (NYSE: NIO), Li Auto Inc. (NASDAQ: LI) and Xpeng Inc. (NYSE: XPEV) all reported December deliveries Monday morning when U.S. markets were closed for the New Year’s Day holiday. Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) reports December deliveries later Tuesday.

For December, Nio delivered 18,012 units, up about 12% month over month. Fourth-quarter deliveries rose 25% year over year, and total deliveries for the year reached 160,038, up nearly 31% compared to 2022 deliveries.

Li Auto delivered 50,323 EVs in December, up 137.1% year over year and a new monthly delivery record. Fourth-quarter deliveries totaled 131,805, up 184.6% year over year. For the full year, delivered rose 182.2% to 376,030.

Xpeng reported deliveries of 20,115 vehicles in October, up 78% year over year but essentially flat month over month. The company delivered 60,158 EVs in the fourth quarter and 141,601 vehicles over the course of 2023. The annual total was up 17% year over year.

Analysts expect Tesla to report fourth-quarter sales of around 480,000 units. China’s largest EV maker, BYD, reported deliveries of 526,409 all-electric vehicles in the fourth quarter. That marks the first quarter in which BYD has delivered more all-electric vehicles than Tesla. Including plug-in hybrids, BYD delivered 340,178 vehicles in December. BYD delivered 3.01 million EVs in 2023. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has targeted 1.8 million deliveries for 2023.

Disney loses mouse copyright

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Not that mouse, though. Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) released its first cartoon featuring a mouse in 1928. U.S. copyright law protected that mouse, aka Steamboat Willie, for 95 years. That period ended on January 1, 2024.

Images of that character have now entered the public domain and may be freely copied, shared and used by anyone for any purpose. Loss of copyright protection does not mean that Mickey Mouse is now free–only the original Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters are available. For a full run-down on what people can do, Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain has the details.

Another work that has entered the public domain is the first movie to include sound: Al Jolson’s “The Jazz Singer,” also released in 1928. Books and plays losing copyright protection include D.H. Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover,” Bertolt Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera” and Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando.”

Musical compositions now in the public domain include “Mack the Knife,” from Brecht’s play, the music from the Marx Brothers movie “Animal Crackers” and Bessie Smith’s 1923 recording of “Downhearted Blues.” (Sound recordings first made between 1923 and 1946 get 100 years of copyright protection.)

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